Ian Knauer interview

Time Out talks to the Sound Of Music star


Hey Ian, how are rehearsals going?
It’s going well – it’s very fun to be doing the show with a great cast, and it’s such a fantastic production. The show was my first professional job when I was 12 years old – I played Kurt. This production is just for Dubai – we’ve put it together specifically for the Madinat Jumeirah.

Have you altered the play for Dubai audiences?
We haven’t changed it at all. It’s different from the movie, but we perform the stage show as it was originally written, so there are a lot of songs from the movie, and also songs not covered in the movie.

What do you think is the secret of the show’s success?
It’s almost a Cinderella story that anyone can relate to. It’s about going with your heart and following your dreams, but also being true to who you are, and true to the people that are important to you. There are so many things that ring true for so many people, no matter what their background. It’s fun to live through somebody else’s life, which is why we go to the theatre – to enjoy, but also to learn and have a good time.

How do you put your personal slant on your character?
I definitely have my own experiences of doing the show because I played Rolf in my early twenties. But I’ve never played the captain before, and it’s really very fun. Having seen the movie, I have certain images and ideas from that, but I’m coming at it from my experiences from the stage and from my personal life.

We read on your website that you’ve also played Tin Man from the Wizard of Oz…
I actually played it twice. It was really remarkable, and a lot like The Sound of Music. It’s such a well-known show – it was so fun to do something where people were already with you, they already knew what was happening, but it was just so exciting for them seeing it live, and in person.

Do you have any other career highlights?
The Sound of Music is a big highlight, because it’s a cool marker for me in my career – just to be able to say that 30 years on I’m still performing. It’s quite amazing. I never knew this was going to be my journey in life, and here I am playing The Sound Of Music in Dubai. It’s great to be in Dubai, because it combines two of the things I love: performing and experiencing different people and a different culture. I’m really curious to see how the Dubai audiences will react to the show.

The Sound of Music continues at First Group Theatre until April 23. Tickets Dhs170, from www.timeouttickets.com.

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